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Sir Cliff Richard to hear judgement in case against the BBC

5:11 am, 18th July 2018

The singer is suing the broadcaster over television coverage of a police raid made on his home in August 2014.

The police were investigating historical allegations of sexual abuse, for which Sir Cliff was never arrested or charged.

Live helicopter footage was broadcast from outside the entertainer’s Berkshire home as the BBC reported the police search.

Sir Cliff’s legal team told the court it was a “gross invasion of his privacy” and the 77-year-old sustained “possibly permanent damage to his self-esteem, standing and reputation” as a result of the coverage.

They are asking for damages “at the top end of the scale” – likely to total in the region of £600,000.

Sir Cliff has previously said the case cost him £3.4 million.

The BBC told the court its coverage of the story was in the public interest and said that its reporting was fair and accurate.

Celebrity agent Jonathan Shalit told Sky News that Sir Cliff was left a “broken man” by the reports.

“His health was affected, his life was affected in ways which will go on for many years to come,” he said.

“I think it’s abhorent what happened to him. Cliff is a very decent, upstanding man, everyone admires and loves him, even if you don’t know him, you love him, he’s a national treasure.”

The case could have broader ramifications for the freedom of the press and could potentially set a precedent for the ability of journalists to report on police investigations.

Some commentators believe it could have perhaps the biggest impact on the media since the Leveson Inquiry.

Roy Greenslade, professor of journalism at City University, says it would be detrimental to all if press freedoms were curtailed.

“I think the danger of this verdict is it will inhibit the press from reporting on the activities of the police, and the problem there is that it must be in the public interest that we know what the police are doing,” he said.

“There can’t be justice in secret, it has to be transparent and our job is to disclose it when it happens.”

South Yorkshire Police, who tipped off the BBC about the raid, has already paid £400,000 in damages to Sir Cliff in an out-of-court settlement.

A spokesman for the judiciary said Mr Justice Mann will deliver his ruling at the High Court in London on Wednesday.